Nation Network 2017 Prospect Profiles: #27 Callan Foote

The last name may seem familiar to a few hockey fans. See, once there was a shutdown defender named Adam Foote. He was kind of okay at the whole playing hockey thing. He’s also Callan’s father.

Callan Foote is also pretty good at the whole hockey thing.

He has almost everything a scout could desire: bloodlines, above average size, points, skill, and coming from a club well known for spitting out NHL defenders. Overall, Foote has a lot going for him and he sits 27 for our prospect breakdown.

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  • Age: 18-years-old, 1998-12-13
  • Birthplace: Englewood, CO, USA
  • Position: RD
  • Handedness: Right
  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 209 lbs
  • Draft Year Team: Kelowna Rockets


pGPS S pGPS N pGPS % pGPS P/82 Expected Value
 24  49 49.5  30.9 15.3

Read about pGPS here.


12 (NA) 26 17 18 30 12 18 15

Mike Morreale – NHL.com:

The 6-3, 213-pound son of former NHL defenseman Adam Foote probably won’t be the physical presence his father was, but plays all situations and uses his smarts, reach and strength to contain his opponent and gain position.

He is not afraid of playing physical and benefits from his big body and strength in battles. Possess decent shooting tools and is not only limited to a pure big and mean defender, but also distributes the puck smoothly and creates offence.

An assertive two-way defenceman that reads plays quickly and understands both the offensive and defensive sides of the roles he is put into. He uses his size to gain leverage against other players, though he isn’t an overly physical force. His hockey sense is outstanding, and his ability to no just read, but start and on the odd occasion, finish plays is overtly indicative of his high talent level.

Our Take:

The apple does not fall far from the tree.

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Callan Foote might be the best defenseman in the draft in terms of defensive zone performance. Gap control, defensive zone positioning, boxing out, board battles, clearing the net… Foote pretty much has it all.

The right-shot defender has plus-NHL size and strength already, and is highly adept at using it to his advantage. While he will never be mistaken for his father, Foote will play an aggressive and physical game.

He defends and retrieves pucks well. Once in possession of the puck, Foote will initiate the breakout with solid execution, although he will never called an advanced puck-moving defensemen.

While defense is Foote’s speciality, he is not without his offensive attributes. Foote does not carry a booming shot, but he can put the puck in net. For the most part his offense comes from distributing the puck via primary shot-passes or building up the play.

Foote contains sufficient offensive instinct and vision to quarterback the primary power play unit of a strong (and analytically inclined) junior roster.

His biggest weaknesses would be his tendency to play safe, overly so to a fault. Foote is overly reliant in dump or chip plays, limiting his team’s and own offensive potential. Once in the offensive zone Foote plays well enough, but he could add the occasional puck rush to assist his team in gaining the offensive zone with possession.

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The bulk of Foote’s production comes from even strength and power play assists, as is the norm for NHL prospective defenders in major junior. His goal production has room to grow, which likely comes in part due to his cautious play style.

Foote’s even strength production places him in the second tier for draft eligible defenders from the WHL, behind Juuso Valimaki. While Foote is an older draft eligible skater with his early birthday, he is still younger than Valimaki.

With above average size and a solid 0.79 point per game pace, Foote produces quite a few NHL successes in his list of statistical cohorts. Many of his 100-199 NHL game cohorts are players likely to eclipse the 200 game threshold as well, such as Alex Petrovic and Brandon Davidson.

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When we look at which NHL players closest statistically resembled Foote at 17-years-old, we see the closest comparable player being Karl Alzner. While Alzner may have been overvalued by coaches and general managers throughout his NHL career thus far, he is still a serviceable defensive defender.

There are quite a few “overrated” defenders in his list. This is not atypical for a plus-sized defender, which opens up the debate on using NHL usage, like games played, as a measure of success for a player.

A player’s usage may be due to talent but may also be due to unjustified bias that extends from amateur scouting to the professional level.

A pGPS of 49.5 per cent analytically suggests that Foote is a fairly safe player. Being ranked within the first round by most scouting services adds another layer of assurance.

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Ultimately, Foote is very likely to be a NHL player; however, there is some limitations on his upside. Foote carries enough offensive talent to give him about a good shot at being a second pairing defender, let alone competently play in the NHL.

That said, his lack of elite offensive upside, noted through both qualitative and quantitative scouting, reduces his chances of being a first-pairing defender, pushing him back to late within the first round.


  • Pat Quinn Way

    Just look at the size and pedigree of this kid at 18 lol. Someone is going to have a beaut of a late first round pick here, though he may go higher.

    You only have to look at the likes of Max Domi, the Nylander kids, and last year’s utter Benning failure, Matty Tkachuk, to see that those with esteemed NHL lineage are almost always worth a punt. It’s in the blood!

    Foote’s current rating really means very little. Remember, no fancy stats nerds were able to help NHL teams predict just how good the likes of Shea Weber (49th), Duncan Keith (54th), Brent Burns (20th) and the mighty Erik Karlsson, who was passed over by 14 NHL teams, were going to be. Having seen him play for the Rockets, Cal Foote will be a beast… just you wait and see.

    • Wait… I don’t get your last paragraph. It wasn’t “fancystats” nerds who drafted those players late; it was scouts and GMs.

      Ex1: Karlsson fell because of size bias and also thinking the NHL combine’s results matter (Karlsson did very, very poorly).

      I mean, what do stats predominately do with scouting anyways?

      The whole purpose of analytical thinking is simply looking at the past, seeing how teams made decisions, and see how those decision makers could be better.

      One example of this would be NHL teams undervaluing a defenseman’s scoring. On average, history has shown us that scouts can truly detect non-scoring attributes that makes a player a more likely success than someone with equal level scoring, but they also slightly overvalue those aspects relative to scoring.

      That’s what fancy stats is about. Seeing what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve.

  • TD

    What’s wrong with a defensive defenceman? Everyone is talking about Tanev’s value, and he has never produced anywhere near what Foote is predicted to produce. CA seems very hung up on d men being able to produce, and yet they go on and on about Tanev’s value. Tanev is good at transitioning the puck, but produces very little offence and yet that is a very sought after commodity in the NHL and at CA.

  • defenceman factory

    There aren’t many of the prospects I’ve seen a lot of but I’ve seen Cal play over 30 times over the last two years. This write-up on Foote is very good. Here are few additional observations.

    The Rockets changed coaches this last season and Foote seemed to be less dynamic and play safer than the year before. I don’t know if it was coaching, quality of competition or some nagging injury but the needle moved a bit.

    Foote is an excellent and fearless shot blocker. He plays big minutes, PK and 1st unit PP. He has intensity and drive and was a warrior in the playoffs. Foote is a big kid and overpowers many forwards but players of similar size do overpower him too often. He could get stronger.

    No flash, no drama and some games you barely notice him. Makes very few mistakes. I consider the identified shortcomings in his game opportunities for improvement. This kid has the smarts, physical ability and access to the expert guidance to just get better. Will always be more like Tanev than Karlsen but a great mid 1st round pick.

    And wait till you get a look at Cal’s little brother Nolan. He plays wing and is about the same size. I believe he is draft eligible in 2019.